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CHP: Officer At Fault for Head-On Collision That Took His Life

CHP: Officer At Fault for Head-On Collision That Took His Life

San Diego Union Tribune

February 16, 2011

MENDOCINO COUNTY, CA – A preliminary CHP investigation indicates that Garberville CHP officer Thomas Adams crossed into oncoming traffic Tuesday, causing the crash that took his life in northern Mendocino County.

Adams, 24, had been on-duty for a little more than 6 hours when the 2:15 p.m. crash occurred on Highway 101 near Piercy, just south of the Mendocino-Humboldt county line, the CHP said.

He was northbound on a right-hand curve in wet weather when he veered into the southbound fast lane and somehow spun so that his passenger side was exposed to oncoming traffic, Officer Erik Van Emmerik said.

A 2004 Toyota Tundra truck that struck his passenger side came part-way into Adams’ Ford Crown Victoria. The force of the impact that likely caused his fatal injuries, Van Emmerik said.

“If you combine the two speeds, it’s quite an impact,” he said.

Two men in the Tundra, driver Jeff W. Kidd of Perris and his passenger, Riverside resident Jared P. Geldhofbond, were taken to Jerold Phelps Community Hospital in Garberville for treatment of minor injuries to their hands and feet, authorities said. Both later were released, the CHP said.

Adams, a Fortuna native, had been with the CHP for about two years, working first in Oakland and transferring last fall to the Garberville station, which covers southern Humboldt County and northern Mendocino County, from Brooktrails outside Willits north.

He was one of 18 officers working the area, including six officers in the Laytonville resident post and 12 working the road out of the Garberville station, Van Emmerik said.

“It’s a small office, so we’re taking it kind of hard,” he said. “It’s going to be a sad day, that’s for sure.”

In a statement offering condolences to Adams’ parents, Bruce and Karen, Gov. Jerry Brown said capitol flags would be lowered to half-staff in honor of the officer.

Brown said he and his wife, Anne “join all Californians in offering our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Officer Thomas Adams.

“Thomas spent the last two years as a Highway Patrol officer keeping Californians safe from the Bay Area to the Northern Coast,” Brown said in his statement. “His courage, service and sacrifice will not be forgotten. Our thoughts and prayers are with those grieving this tragic loss.”

Adams was working a 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. shift and was on patrol near Piercy when he died, Van Emmerik said.

Dispatch records indicated he was not en route to a specific assignment, and it remained unclear if he had seen a speeder or observed some other traffic violation, Van Emmerik said.

Authorities, who were hampered by rain during their their investigation Tuesday night, expected to contact additional witnesses Wednesday to determine whether Adams had activated his lights or siren before the crash, Van Emmerik said.

The CHP’s Redding-based Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team, or MAIT, which specializes in accident reconstruction and speed and position calculations, also was expected to arrive and conduct a separate investigation, he said.

  • Garita2_max50


    over 3 years ago



  • Untitledma28839986-0002_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Rest in Peace Officer Adams.

  • 21_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Rest in peace Brother

  • Sany0282_max50


    over 3 years ago


    rest in peace, may the lord be with you.

  • Pa_iii_frank_dimiceli_01_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Rest In Peace Brother

  • Me_callie08172010_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Rest in Peace Trooper Adams

  • Explorer_pic_27s_025_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Rip my prayers go out to the family

  • Officer_down2_max160_max50_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Rest in peace brother

  • Thin_blue_line_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Rip Brother, Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago

    RIP Brother Adams.........same type of MVA happened to a good buddy of mine last year, rainy weather in a curve. AIU Investigators discovered the person who hit my friend head-on was in the middle of sending a dayum text message.

  • Rpd_patch_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Rest in Peace Trooper Adams. Thank you for your service. Condolences to the Adams Family, Friends & Co-Workers.

  • Steve_mcqueen_max50


    over 3 years ago


    May you Rest in Peace Sir . The information report says he was working about 6 hours when the accident happened at 1415hrs.. His shift is 0600 to 1830 hrs.? More like 08hrs and 15 minutes into his shift. I only say this because I am not a fan of 12 hour shifts for Police Officers. 08 hours of extreme mental concentration is more then enough to comprehend.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    God had his reason for taking you home at such a young age. May you rest in peace.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    May you rest in peace, my brother. May God comfort and bless your family and friends.

  • Marvin_max50


    over 3 years ago


    May GOD bless you and keep you officer. May he watch over your family and friends, and a speedy recovery to the people in the other vehicle.

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